January 15, 2024

Turing Pattern Formation in Reaction-Cross-Diffusion Systems with a Bilayer Geometry

The research article “Turing Pattern Formation in Reaction-Cross-Diffusion Systems with a Bilayer Geometry” by ASHBi PI, S.Seirin-Lee, and her postdoc, A. Diez, was published online in Bulletin of Mathematical Biology on January 3rd, 2024.


Conditions for self-organisation via Turing’s mechanism in biological systems represented by reaction-diffusion or reaction-cross-diffusion models have been extensively studied. Nonetheless, the impact of tissue stratification in such systems is under-explored, despite its ubiquity in the context of a thin epithelium overlying connective tissue, for instance the epidermis and underlying dermal mesenchyme of embryonic skin. In particular, each layer can be subject to extensively different biochemical reactions and transport processes, with chemotaxis – a special case of cross-diffusion – often present in the mesenchyme, contrasting the solely molecular transport typically found in the epidermal layer. We study Turing patterning conditions for a class of reaction-cross-diffusion systems in bilayered regions, with a thin upper layer and coupled by a linear transport law. In particular, the role of differential transport through the interface is explored together with the presence of asymmetry between the homogeneous equilibria of the two layers. A linear stability analysis is carried out around a spatially homogeneous equilibrium state in the asymptotic limit of weak and strong coupling strengths, where quantitative approximations of the bifurcation curve can be computed. Our theoretical findings, for an arbitrary number of reacting species, reveal quantitative Turing conditions, highlighting when the coupling mechanism between the layered regions can either trigger patterning or stabilize a spatially homogeneous equilibrium regardless of the independent patterning state of each layer. We support our theoretical results through direct numerical simulations, and provide an open source code to explore such systems further

Paper information

Diez, A., Krause, A. L., Maini, P. K., Gaffney, E. A., & Seirin-Lee, S. (2024). Turing Pattern Formation in Reaction-Cross-Diffusion Systems with a Bilayer Geometry. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. DOI: